How do I know if my site is any good?

There are many, many different ways for you to gauge how well your site is doing.  You can look at: your monthly traffic, your Alexa rank, the number of subscribers you have, the number of comments per post you get, or even the number of times your articles have been bookmarked on Delicious.

But I’d like to suggest that none of those really matter, or at least they don’t matter much.  Why?  Because none of them are truly reliable indicators of quality content.

So, the better question to ask is: how do I know if my content is any good?  Basically, how can you tell when what you’re writing about is actually valuable to other people (and not just interesting to you)?

Here are the two things I’ve found that really help determine this:

  1. Sites that link back to me, analyzing what I said.
  2. Direct emails from readers, saying how my content has affected their routine.

[Sidenote: those two things make me sound really important and influential, but I can assure you that they’re both fairly rare occurrences.]

I bookmark nearly every post where someone has mentioned me or linked back to my site in a positive light (I got this idea from Ramit Ben).  This is a really easy way to keep track of how people are interpreting your message and then spreading it to others.  I highly recommend you do this because you’ll basically create a testimonials page for yourself.  In a few months/years, you’ll have a decent-sized catalog that points to your influence on other sites.

I also label emails I get from people who have reached out to me after reading my content, saying how it affected them.  These emails are just as important for you as getting linked to from other sites.  They are from people who have taken time out of their day to write to you directly, admitting that you’ve somehow made an impact on them.  That means you’re doing something right.  You’ve hit upon a subject that resonated with that person for some reason or another, and have catalyzed a change in their life (hopefully for the better).

Here’s a suggestion: when you receive a good email from someone, get that person on the phone or on Skype and talk with them for a few minutes.  I guarantee that they’ll read every single post you write after that, word-for-word.  When you humanize the medium, you convert subscribers into fans.

10 comments on “How do I know if my site is any good?

  1. It’s also a bit creepy though. What’s that saying? I don’t want to join any club that wants me as a member? Maybe I don’t look up to people so much that immediately want to chat on the phone.

    Just a thought.

  2. That is a good point, but I don’t necessarily want (or think I deserve) to be looked up to at this point. I’m more interested in earning trust, and actually talking with someone can accomplish that pretty quickly.

    I’m not advocating calling every person who writes you a three sentence email. I’m saying that, if someone expresses genuine appreciation for your content in a solid, well-written email, it wouldn’t hurt to ask if they might be interested in hopping on the phone for a few minutes.

    I don’t know, maybe I’m wrong on this. I haven’t talked with enough weirdos yet, so a few bad interactions might change my way of thinking.

  3. Pingback: Gratitude is Smart Sales @Guenther’s World

  4. @Colin- I’d still probably put that in the “not that important” category. The point I was trying to make is that influence combined with remarkability is the best thing to look at when deciding if your content is quality or not.

  5. @ryan- I can only judge this site from where I’m sitting. On my first time here after 10 minutes looking I was certain of two things

    -this was the f’ing coolest site I’d visited based on ease of navigation/professionalism
    -nothing written here was a waste of time reading (incl comments)
    Having asked Charlie a question and his willingness to chat about it proved only one thing to me
    *kindness without any commercial transaction = good guy, and I’d like to call him a friend now. Also, I’d pay back his time hes spent chatting to me x10 if he ever needed anything I could help with.

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